Sunday, February 28, 2010

serene sundays...

Sundays are a time for sleeping in, having late, long and wholesome breakfasts, sipping tea, reading the paper, planning the meals for the week, trips to the market, mending, cleaning, reorganizing, recharging, spending time with family and friends, reading books, playing in parks, taking naps in the sun, baking bread or any of the above in combination.
In light of this, I will categorize my Sunday entries as “serene sundays” and put up photos that describe my mood, thoughts, ideas, inspiration or general weekend goings-on, instead of writing an entire entry.

We enjoyed The Teddy Bear's Picnic at Ripponlea Estate today. If you've never been to the estate it's absolutely stunning. The gardens alone are worth a visit, especially if you've packed a picnic lunch. Todays events included-

Pony Rides

Animal Petting. I am always very torn about this one, it doesn't look like the best of situations for these little guys (they're covered in their own feces, separated from their Mothers, overfed, overstimulated and probably sent to the slaughter house as soon as they're not "cute" anymore), but I also want L'il B to develop a sense of camaraderie and empathy for the animals so I don't want to prohibit him from visiting them when we get a chance just because I think it's cruel- any other vegetarian Mums have any suggestions/opinions? I couldn't even post the photo of the calf because looking at it made me so depressed.

And of course, every Teddy Bear's picnic includes a little dancing and singing with pom poms.

When we got home this afternoon the entire family had a 2 hour nap. Serene as a Sunday gets.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend with your loved ones. Don't forget to enter the giveaway for Handmade Home by Amanda Soule!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

sowing seeds

Moments like these this afternoon when I wish I had a gardening guru to teach me the ways of the wild instead of sifting through reading material from the library. This photo is of just the soil in the little planters. I ended up making a lot more (from newspaper) as I felt I needed them so I could sow less seeds in each planter. I did eventually sow the seeds- not sure if I put too many in each container, whether they were too deep or too shallow (I put the thinner seeds in very shallow seed raising soil, and the larger seeds further apart and a little deeper) or whether they'll even germinate at all.

My biggest question now is whether I should water them or not while I wait for them to germinate... any ideas my faithful green readers??? I have sown peas, beetroot, leeks, onions and lettuce- apparently all ideally sown late summer/early autumn in Melbourne.

The seeds are from Eden Seeds and are all traditional open-pollinated varieties, thanks to Catherine from A Time to Create for telling me about this wonderful company.

Only time will tell whether this little experiment works. Fingers crossed...


Friday, February 26, 2010

handmade home giveaway

In celebration of the fact that it's quite simply FRIDAY- I will be giving away a copy of the incomparable Amanda Soule's Handmade Home!

If you didn't read the little story about how I came to acquire an extra copy of this fabulous book, you can read it here. The happy ending to it being that one of my lucky readers will win a copy along with a few other little bits and bobs to get them started with their handmade journey.

Amanda Soule is an inspiration to us all, and her second book, Handmade Home is filled with easy, fun and practical ideas for the home, from rag rugs to book satchels to hot pads to printed t-shirts.

Just leave a comment below for your chance to win. Get an extra entry by mentioning this giveaway on your own blog or if you are blogless, emailing 3 friends encouraging them to enter the giveaway. Then, make sure to leave a second comment below. For a third entry in the draw make sure to subscribe to my RSS feed (you'll automatically have an extra entry if you are already a subscriber) and for one more chance (that's 4 entries!!) become a follower of ecoMILF. For every entry make be sure to add an additional comment below and please keep it honest, I will be doing my best to check up on everyone. International entries welcome.

Good Luck!! The winner will be drawn next Friday morning.


Monday, February 22, 2010


When I was pregnant with L'il B, I was fortunate enough to meet Jenny, a lovely midwife, who was training as a CalmBirth practitioner and as part of her training offered the full course to Big B and I in our home on a weekly basis for a discounted rate (because she wasn't yet fully certified). We learned a lot about the birth process- physically, mentally and spiritually from her 10 years of experience as a midwife and through the tools the course gives you.

The website describes this method best-

The calmbirth® method of childbirth education was created by Peter Jackson in 2005.

As a midwife in a country hospital for 20 years, Peter witnessed mothers whose experience of childbirth was one of fear, pain and trauma. As a result he began to search for ways to help improve the experience of these mothers.

He consequently qualified as a Private Subconscious Mind Therapist and in 1997 traveled to the USA and there qualified as a HypnoBirthing® practitioner. Peter brought this programme to Australia in 1997 and until 2004, trained HypnoBirthing® practitioners in this country. Over 100 certified HypnoBirthing ® practitioners attended his training.

As a result of feedback he received from couples attending his classes and some of the practitioners he trained in the HypnoBirthing® method, Peter realized the need for a unique Australian childbirth education programme. calmbirth® is the result.

The calmbirth® technique was developed to reduce pain in labour by eliminating the fear and tension that many women experience during childbirth. calmbirth® draws on Dr Grantly Dick Read’s (1889–1959) theory of fear – tension – pain which revolutionized the way people perceived childbirth in the early half of this century. His model outlining the relationship between fear tension and pain in the body of the labouring woman is based on the way the sympathetic nervous system reacts to signals of distress or potential danger.

In his work as a Private Subconscious Mind Therapist Peter has experienced first hand the remarkable healing which takes place when a person is taught to accesses his or her subconscious resources. In the calmbirth® classes couples are taught skills such as relaxation, visualisation and breathing which help to tap into these resources. This in turn reduces fear and anxiety about birth. In his book “Timeless Healing “Herbert Benson (1996) explains that the bodily calm we call the “relaxation response” has the opposite effect to the well know “fight and flight” response. The relaxation response is a state in which blood pressure is lowered, heart rate, breathing rate metabolic rate brought on by simple “….mental focusing or meditation techniques”. Benson believes that when we encourage patients (mothers) to play an active role in their health care (birth process) we are utilizing a contemporary understanding of mind body medicine. All of the above can have a beneficial effect on a woman’s pregnancy, labour and post partum period as has been proven over and over again by pregnant couples who have used the calmbirth® techniques in childbirth.

Today I started listening to my calmbirth CDs and practicing some of the relaxation techniques. L'il B's birth story is one for another day, but I do really recommend this course if you are considering any kind of birth education as first time parents. Big B definitely learned as much, if not more than I did from this course. The lessons you learn continue through to birth and beyond, preparing you for the emotional upheaval that happens when the new one arrives and teach you how to reconnect with a calmer, more peaceful and stable side of yourself no matter what you are faced with.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

serene sundays...

Sundays are a time for sleeping in, having late, long and wholesome breakfasts, sipping tea, reading the paper, planning the meals for the week, trips to the market, mending, cleaning, reorganizing, recharging, spending time with family and friends, reading books, playing in parks, taking naps in the sun, baking bread or any of the above in combination.

In light of this, I will categorize my Sunday entries as “serene sundays” and put up photos that describe my mood, thoughts, ideas, inspiration or general weekend goings-on, instead of writing an entire entry.

This weekend the goal was fun in the sun for L'il B. I am finally starting to feel better and get some energy back after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. During that time the occasional 1/2 hour TV show turned into around 1/2 hour 3-4 times/week. I really hated it, TV is a dirty, dirty habit in my opinion. We have weaned ourselves off of any and all TV this week, and I have already noticed a huge difference in L'il B's creative play, and his ability to entertain himself for longer periods of time without me. Sometimes I think we turn the television on because we think it's the only thing that will keep the kids occupied while we get things done. But I really believe we underestimate their imagination and ability to occupy themselves with creative play.


sand mummies...


and no fun-filled day would be complete without a cold glass of organic chocolate milk...

What fun!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

to read or not to read...

that is the question.

I have recently just joined a newly formed bookclub with a few girls I know and a few girls they know. We are all very excited to meet and discuss our first book next week. The dilemma? I am halfway through the most excruciatingly horrible book I have ever read. Okay, I might be being a bit dramatic, but man, this book really rubs me the wrong way. It's called The Slap, by Christos Tsiolkas. I won't go into huge detail, but every time I read it my stomach churns in horror. I find it vulgar, offensive, stereotypically insulting and dully predictable. None of the characters are likeable, and I find it very difficult to be empathetic towards any of them.

So, here I am with one week left and 200 pages left to slog through, and all I really want to do is read something I would enjoy instead of wasting hours of my time reading something that gives me no pleasure.

But it's a reading club, right? And it only works if everyone reads the book...

Part of me has this teenage rebellious carpe diem sort of heart about it- why waste the time in my precious life doing something I don't love? The other part of me- the responsible, follow-the-rules adult thinks- just read it and get it over with, it's only fair to the others.

What would you do?


Friday, February 19, 2010

zesty wooden floors

As many of you know, I only have homemade natural cleaning products in the house. See this post for a list of homemade cleaning recipes. I was using a peppermint teabag/vinegar mixture for the wooden floors but it wasn't holding up against the likes of L'il B and his greasy monkey hands, so today I tried a new recipe:

2 cups white vinegar
2 cups warm water
1 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lux (soap flakes)

The soap in this recipes made for a bit more of a washing commitment (washing and then rinsing) but the end result was sparkling floors with a zesty smelling finish!

What a way to start off the weekend. I'm sure they'll still be sparkling by Monday...


Thursday, February 18, 2010

be careful what you wish for

Well, no sooner did I banished one electric appliance then did all of them disappear! Last night at about 6pm we lost all electric power... for the next 25 hours! Thank goodness we're vegetarian and don't keep frozen meat and the like in the freezer. We have a gas stove, so this morning we boiled up lots of water, washed our faces, made some tea and pan fried some toast. This afternoon I learned a lesson in reheating via the the stovetop- I just added a little water to my curry stew and stirred it around in a small saucepan. I swear it was faster than a reheat in the forbidden microwave.

To top it all off my mobile battery was dead (turned off completely) and we don't have a house phone and my computer was zonked.

Just as I had finished lighting all the candles in preparation for another night of darkness and had tucked myself into bed with a book (because what in the world else are you to do without power?) I heard the zip zang zoom of the printer and the refrigerator and, I hate to admit it, made a bee line for the computer. That said, I secretly enjoyed the technological break today. It was a great reminder of how plentiful our lives are, and how so many things we take for granted are actually unnecessary, wasteful and extravagant.

So, I will keep my candles lit, and stay put here in bed... just as soon as I further peruse 'Hello Charlie', an ecofriendly baby/child online shop based in Melbourne. I came across an ad for it in Melbourne's Child and couldn't resist a little peek. I personally cannot indulge in what look to be some fabulous things, (see 365 days of Nothing New), but I thought anyone else expecting a little one in the Melbourne area might also like to have a look.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

a bitter sweet goodbye

Something came over me this weekend, a very funny thing, because it didn't really have to do with anything we were doing or talking about. I was thinking about when I finally made the decision to change over to natural homemade and chemical free cleaning products and how it was the best decision I ever made. I put it off for over a year because I thought it would be difficult, but it was painless and when L'il B eats off of the floor (because, of course, he does) or gets into the cupboard below the sink, I know the only thing he could possibly be ingesting isa bit of vinegar or bi-carb soda.

So here is my ecoMILF confession, we still have a microwave. I don't use it often, but often enough- to defrost frozen fruit for our porridge or to heat up left-overs on occasion. I shudder to think I defrosted poor L'il B's homemade baby food for those few pureed months (never with any kind of plastic- just glass, mind you). I have looked around on the internet for information on the negative effects of microwaving. From what I have read, the microwave changes the molecular structure of your food and causes it to be carcinogenic, does not kill bacteria properly and causes abnormal changes in human blood and immune systems. This site was helpful, but I am not sure how legitimate it is. It seems for every site telling you about the hidden evils of the microwave, there are three telling you that they are perfectly safe.

But there is still something terribly irksome about this troublesome machine. I hate it. Every time I use it it creeps me out. I avoid it like the plague if it is on. Which makes me wonder, how I can be scared enough to devil dodge the thing and then eat the food it has heated?

So, I made the announcement:
"B?", I said in a sweet little voice.
"Yes?...", suspicions rising.
"I've decided we need to get rid of the microwave. I can't take it anymore. It's driving me insane."
"Why don't you just unplug it for a little while?"
"Because I want it out of the house, I don't want to see it, I don't want it near us, I don't want the temptation of using it ever again. I want to break the bad habit and get back to a more natural way of heating things"

Well, the last "dot, dot, dot" was a little unfair. He's really being very supportive about the loss. Poor guy, he gets home late every night to a cold dinner, so I will have to come up with a reheating solution for all of his meals or cook his half separately closer to when he arrives home.

But I have made the decision: so long and farewell to a machine that has been a part of my household and daily life since I was born. I am forever banishing you from this household! Be gone!

Now to figure out what it do with the thing. I want to donate it to the local Op shop but am I just passing the sickness on to someone else? Thoughts? And also, if anyone has some more convincing information about the effects of microwaves, please send it on, as I am sure I will have to give a better explanation than "motherly instinct" to the non-believers who ask.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu

may all beings everywhere be happy and free
and may my thoughts, words and actions contribute in some way to that freedom and to that happiness for all

om shanti shanti shanti (peace peace peace)

Here is my last entry to do with this wonderful weekend. The thing that sets this yoga style apart from many others is it's emphasis on ahimsa (non-violence) and our ability to be free from the chain of violence and murder. It is a practice that reminds us always to give, think and hope for the happiness of others, not only because this is a compassionate thing to do, but because the others are a part of us, and on a deeper level, they are us. We all want the same thing, whether we have feathers, fur, black skin, white skin, scales or fins- to be free and happy.

Blessings and love to everyone. I will be back on track tomorrow.


Monday, February 15, 2010


I'm still here, but not quite ready to talk just yet. Tomorrow is our last class and I need a little time to digest this whole experience before I go writing about it. Let me just say it has been amazing, and more than I could have ever asked for and truly, truly what I needed at this moment in time. Here is a little video clip of the gurus I have been blessed to learn from this weekend. It gives you some insight into the practice, the style of yoga and the ethics involved. Will be back in this space Wednesday, if not tomorrow.


Friday, February 12, 2010

we're off to to see the gurus...

...the wonderful gurus of jivamukti yoga

We leave for a 5 night trip to Sydney today. I'd usually say "sunny" Sydney, but apparently it's going to rain, rain, rain. No matter to me, for I will be participating in an all-weekend long jivamukti yoga workshop. I signed up for this months and months ago (before I found out I was pregnant). It is my dream to meet the founders of jivamukti yoga- Sharon Gannon and David Life. They are inspirational teachers, world leaders and activists and I feel so privileged to finally meet them. It doesn't matter that I'm pregnant really, but I won't be able to do all the cool asana (poses) that I wish I could, I'll have to take it easy. If you're interested in what you can and can't do while practicing yoga pregnant, see this past entry of mine. If you are interested in yoga and have a practice yourself, I highly recommend this style. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of teachers in Australia that are certified to teach it. Fortunately for those who live in Sydney, Samadhi yoga (my all-time favourite studio, which also happens to be hosting this workshop) has a few jivamukti teachers who are phenomenal at what they do.

I am at the workshop Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm, and Monday and Tuesday 6-10pm. Big B and L'il B will have a whole weekend together (this is a major first), and I have never spent so much time apart from L'il B- I'm a little nervous. I'll see them for my midday break just in time to give L'il B milk before his nap, but it seems like an awfully long time without him.

Anyway, I am frantically packing everything right now, from yoga mats and blankets to a few toys, to some dry food (we have rented a little furnished apartment with kitchen), snacks, entertainment for the plane... the list goes on. And of course, no one likes leaving the house a mess, so I am about to sweep and mop the floors while L'il B is down for his nap.

I can't promise I'll be writing everyday, but I will try to give a little update here and there.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

the swoosh

I first came across this protein shake at a juice bar in Toronto (Canada, where I am from originally) called "Juice for Life". They called it 'the swoosh', I suppose because it is energy and protein packed enabling you to perform Nike like feats for the rest of the day. Or whatever... Regardless, the name has stuck for me, and I have been making swooshes off and on for almost 10 years. My recipe is not exactly like the original, but along the same lines. If you like chocolate, peanut butter and banana this is the shake for you.

1 cup soy milk or rice milk
2 heaping tbs of vegan protein powder (flavourless or chocolate flavoured)- I use phyto protein- derived from pea protein isolate**
1 1/2 tbs natural peanut butter (or almond butter if you prefer)
1 sm banana or 1/2 lg banana
a few ice cubes

I also add

1 tbs ground flax seed
1 packet liquid iron supplement

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

With this shake I am guessing I am consuming around 250-300 calories, 30 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber and maybe 5-7 grams of fat... that's a really rough guess.

I would have it as a meal replacement (generally breakfast) normally, but when I'm pregnant it's the perfect middle of the day 'snack' to get me through until dinner. I like having it more often when I'm pregnant because then I know I've had a my daily protein intake and if I don't eat much more protein (pasta for dinner or something), my body has already had enough to maintain, sustain and create for the rest of the day.

Hope you like it!


** I am really not into soy protein powder because as a vegetarian I drink soy milk and also use tofu 2-3 times a week, like with everything, I believe it's important to moderate the amount of soy protein in my diet.
** I am also repelled by the thought of conventional protein powder which is made of whey (dairy derivative) as they dairy is probably the lowest of the low form of dairy bought cheaply from factory dairy farms, not organic and filled with antibiotics, puss and who knows what other kinds of dairy disgustingness.

Added Note: L'il B has sips of my shake, and I wouldn't recommend more than that for a bub younger than 2, but if you have an older toddler that's on a hunger strike, smoothies of all sorts are a great way to get a little hidden nutrition into them.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

vegetarianism and pregnancy

Many people wonder how vegetarians get all the nutrients they need in general, nevermind when they are "eating for two". Here are a few tips and thoughts about a vegetarian pregnancy.

The first thing to note is that if you are a responsible vegetarian already, who eats a variety of food including vegetable sources of protein, vegetarianism during pregnancy should not be an issue at all.

The vitamins and minerals that are especially essential in pregnancy are:

Folate- essential for baby's neural tube development
food sources: leafy dark greens, broccoli, fortified cereals and bread, bananas, peanuts

Calcium- important for your baby's bones, teeth, (and yours) muscles, heart and nerve development
food sources: milk, soy milk, fortified tofu, tahini, almonds, almond butter, kidney beans, dandelion greens

B12- activates folate in the body
food sources: eggs, milk, yeast flakes, fortified soy milk or tofu

Iron- during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters (and breastfeeding) the baby draws iron from you to maintain his needs for the first 6 months of his life
food sources: eggs, lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu, broccoli, bok choy, blackstrap molasses, quinoa

Zinc- helps you with a faster recovery after birth
food sources: chick peas, pumpkin seeds, tahini

Omega-3- important for the development and growth of the baby, especially brain development
food sources: this is the most difficult to get in a complete form, I rely on Udo's Oil, which I add to a protein shake every other day

If you feel you don't eat anything on one particular list, then ask your pharmacist or doctor about the supplements available. For a more in depth discussion of vegetarianism and the nutrients you need see my post on 'The vegetarian child". It is routine to have your blood checked a few times through the pregnancy, at which times your doctor will tell you if you are low in iron or B12.

So without further ado, here is a photo of my delicious meal for one tonight (Big B is away). A vegetarian curry with brown rice. Potatoes, carrots, green beans, and cabbage flavoured with dried cumin, dried coriander, garam masala, cumin seeds, tahini, and grated (fresh) ginger, topped with some parsley and cashews. I usually have a dairy-free choc/peanut butter protein shake (just while pregnant) at some point during the day for an extra hit of calcium, protein and other nutrients. Stay tuned for that recipe tomorrow- it's soooo good.


*disclaimer- I am by no means a nutritionist, but I am a healthy, active vegetarian. This was written based on my experiences and research.

Monday, February 8, 2010

summer snap mondays

How I cherish these moments. Especially because I know my milk supply is dwindling (common in your first trimester and throughout pregnancy) and I am not sure how long L'il B will put up with it. He seems to be happy enough most days, but occasionally gets a bit frustrated with the lack of flow- especially in the morning, which used to be his biggest and most satisfying feed. I am so grateful for this intimate and complex relationship. It truly feels like an act of love, devotion, trust and deep nurture. One day, when this stage in our lives is complete, I know I will look back with no regrets, and a sense of accomplishment and pride that I persevered through the good times and the bad.

For more summer snap shots head here for a list of sunny participants.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

serene sundays...

Sundays are a time for sleeping in, having late, long and wholesome breakfasts, sipping tea, reading the paper, planning the meals for the week, trips to the market, mending, cleaning, reorganizing, recharging, spending time with family and friends, reading books, playing in parks, taking naps in the sun, baking bread or any of the above in combination.
In light of this, I will categorize my Sunday entries as “serene sundays” and put up photos that describe my mood, thoughts, ideas, inspiration or general weekend goings-on, instead of writing an entire entry.

After a few budgeting tips (thank you!) today was all about
homemade preparation for the week...

pasta sauce, hummus and beetroot dip


soft cheese- in the process

A lot of brow wiping going on in this kitchen today. I would have liked to whip up something sweet for the week, but I think it's time to put my feet up. Hope you had a beautiful weekend with those you love.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Collingwood Children's Farm

If you live in the Melbourne area and have children anywhere between the ages of 1 and 12 The Collingwood Children's Farm is the place to be! Even those without children enjoy the delicious Farm Cafe for a late brekky or lunch. Admission is $8/adult or $16 for a family and for that you can enjoy petting, feeding and watching goats, horses, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, roosters, ducks, and guinea pigs! If you're lucky you might even see the goats being given their bottles or the cows being milked.

There are also community gardens beside the farm and the historical Abbotsford Convent is next door. There is a bi-monthly fruit and vegetable market there on the weekend- see the website for details.

This was our 4th trip there with L'il B and each time we go he loves it more and more. We packed a picnic and had lunch beside the Yarra after a morning of animals and garden-walking. We were all happily exhausted when we got home!


Friday, February 5, 2010

creative space on a whole new level

Today, after what seemed like an eternity of waiting, we had our 12 week scan! For those of you that don't yet speak pregnant-ish, that means I am all knocked up with number two, and had an ultrasound today which verified that everything is looking healthy, normal and on track!!

Hip Hip Hurrah!

Now, I have been dying to write about this announcement not only because it's just so gosh darn exciting, but because it also explains a lot about my blojo as of late. Whenever I haven't known what to write about for the day, these were the topics burning inside of my head:

Morning Sickness with a toddler.

Breastfeeding during pregnancy (yes, that's right, we're still going strong- and my body is doing double duty)

Vegetarianism and Pregnancy

Going 365 Days of Nothing New with a new baby on the way, and a growing tummy.

Public or Private Health Care?

Etc. etc. etc. I've got topics coming out of my ears, so I'll start tomorrow.
Not that that's all I'll be writing about, so don't fret if you're not the child-rearing type.

In the meantime, just for fun, here are a few links back to some entries from the past 12 weeks in which you might have gotten the pregnancy vibe:

Morning Sickness.

Well surprisingly I can't find a post in which I mention my queasy stomach, perhaps I am a better actress than I thought because the morning sickness hasn't been pretty. And by morning sickness, I mean "morning-noon-and-middle-of-the-night-sickness", but it's beginning to settle now and my energy has started to come back as well.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend with those you love.